I hope the Schein Team on Maintenance Roles has much more than what I’ll share here, and I don’t mean to preempt them, but I do want to comment on the care group members showed to each other yesterday.

First, two of you did remember to watch the clock, so I was able to participate in the candelight vigil “in time” with others around the world. Thank you. 🙂

While you were getting organizing in your Schein Teams, I overheard a comment in the Communication Team concerning a layering of stages of group development. This is a sophisticated notion and I was very pleased to hear it! The Team was discussing how to identify different stages, grappling with the fact that things in real life rarely match theoretical models. What <I>are</i> the relationships between observable behaviors (individual and patterned) and determinations of the status of a group-as-a-whole? Each new fishbowl constitutes a new group: they begin “at the beginning” and could get stuck anywhere along the way. As a subgroup of our entire class/group, their ways of communicating, deciding, switching between maintenance and task roles (to name some categories) can reflect the overall group-as-a-whole stage, or serve to work out particular elements on behalf of all of us, or dash us all back into a previous stage where there might be some unfinished business.

Some of the challenges we are now being faced with concern members who have been absent and return. So much occurs in each class session, and we are trying to attend to so many threads and layers, that keeping up through the wiki – while possible (and encouraged!) – is insufficient by itself. Hopefully, everyone is paying attention to the members of your Team who are not present (for whatever reason), and are proactively doing what you can to keep them in the loop.

Did anyone notice anything interesting about how Fishbowl K proceeded in comparison with Fishbowls H and I (Week Six). Several people chuckled when one of the fishbowl “fish” misspoke while trying to say “diverse” (it came out, initially, as “divorce”). A theory of group relations would not ignore the potential “Freudian slip” quality of this faux paux. There was (wasn’t there?) some tension in Fishbowl K. I was fascinated by what seemed to be almost a reversal of dynamics that had occurred before, including the application of similar strategies but with a markedly changed tone. I thought it significant, later in the Fishbowl, when the same “fish” expressed relief at Sara’s statement that she did not think the coursewiki/webpage had to be comprehensive.  If you noticed something, please reply and share your observations and thoughts! For bonus (!), please quote (or paraphrase) from Weber (on the Life Cycle of Groups/Stages of Group Development) to provide a theoretical ground for the meaning you propose to make of your perceptions. 🙂 Note this information on virtual communities, too.


What to Observe in a Group, by Edgar H. Schein

The Group: A Cycle from Birth to Death by Richard C. Weber. Reading Book for Human Relations Training (Arlington, Va.: National Training Laboratories, 1982), 68-71.